Piano, means softly, in musical vocabulary.
The poem “Piano” by Lawrence isn’t a perfect poem by any means. The strained juxtaposition of clamor and glamor indicates a discomfortness for finding rhyming words. Still, glamor is an accurate word in its context: the mature man knows that the child’s eyes endowed the past with an illusory beauty.
The quality of Lawrence’s poem may be seen in the specificity of its detail: “the boom of the tingling strings,” “the small, poised feet.” Lawrence enters into the child’s perspective, while able to criticize it from outside. The speaker is resisting his urge to cry, as the connotations of his words indicate (the song is insidious, it betrays). But at last he is unable to hold back his tears and, sensibly, yields to them.
The subject of “Piano,” is a stock source for poems. Yet the
poem strikes us with something fresh. Its language is vivid, unconventional; its words insidious and betrays add a coiled spring effect; it sets up an energetic tension between present and past.
The tone is soft reminiscing with a tense mood.